This sometimes eloquent, sometimes uneven collection of nearly two hundred poems, stories, and art represents thoughts, feelings and reactions to war-from those long ago in the thirteenth century to present-day Afghanistan and Iraq. Writers from around the world contribute to this collection, including such voices as David Almond, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Michael Morpurgo, Beverley Naidoo, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Jane Yolen along with the artwork of Doug Cushman and Shirley Hughes. One particularly moving story is Heartmines by Sabina Horvat, in which a young boy, Petar, is invited to join a group of children who are playing soccer, and they play all afternoon, having a great time. At the end of the day, when Petar is asked where he lived before, he replies that he is from Serbia. Because the others are Croatian, they abandon Petar, who follows them and saves their lives by warning them that the soccer field is full of landmines. Later in a moving scene, Pero, the narrator, finds out that both the Serbs and Croats laid mines. His grandmother talks about the need to not only remove the physical landmines, but those in their hearts as well. It is only then that they can begin to live in peace. Although not an essential purchase, this international collection will bring comfort and hope to readers as they become aware of and ponder their beliefs of both war and peace. The book includes an index of titles, writers, and artists. For those who are not as knowledgeable about international writers and illustrators, a geographical index would be a welcome addition. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High,defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, The Disinformation Company (Dist. by Consortium Books), 288p.; Index. Illus., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 15.
Mary Ann Capan